Special Report

25 Retro Restaurant Dishes We Might Never See Again

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21. Calf’s brains in black butter

Among the offal dishes once found on restaurant menus in America, this was one of the most daunting to some diners. It’s just the brains, poached and then lightly floured and fried, then sauced with ample butter that has been darkened (but not burned) in a skillet with capers.

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22. Tripes à la mode de Caen

Caen is a city in Normandy, France, and this is its most famous gastronomic offering to the world. Tripe (a portion of cow’s stomach) is slow-cooked in a sealed pot in a sauce of cider, calvados, and vegetables for many hours. Every French restaurant in America used to list it on their menu.

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23. Coupe Alexander

This old-fashioned dessert might well have ended dinner in a nice restaurant 50 or 60 years ago. Typically served in an oversized champagne glass or some other elegant glass bowl, it consists of vanilla ice cream topped with raspberries that have been soaked in kirsch (cherry brandy), in turn topped with orange sherbet, then garnished with toasted coconut.

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24. Apple pie à la mode

Nothing’s more American than apple pie, of course, and this classic hasn’t gone away — but outside of diners, it’s rare to find it on a restaurant menu anymore. At one time, however, this simple serving of a generous slice of pie topped with or accompanied by a scoop of (usually) vanilla ice cream was a standard dessert even in more formal places. An alternative was a slice of the pie warmed up and topped with a thick slice of cheddar cheese.

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25. Baked Alaska

A novel preparation combining hot and cold, this is a dessert made by filling a sponge-cake-lined baking dish with ice cream, then covering the whole thing with meringue. The dish is then quickly cooked in a very hot oven, which stiffens and caramelizes the meringue while leaving the ice cream frozen. According to one story, it was invented at Antoine’s restaurant in New Orleans in 1867, the year that the U.S. bought Alaska from Russia.

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